change, Wheaton divorce lawyerAny difficult decision is bound to leave a person having second thoughts. In fact, if you did not have second thoughts, the decision was probably not very difficult in the first place. With that in mind, the decision to pursue a divorce is likely to be among the most difficult choices you will ever make. Despite billboards or websites that promise to help simplify your divorce, the fact remains that ending your marriage is a significant life event that will change you and your family forever. If you have considered the possibility of filing for divorce, it is important to allow yourself the space and time to think through all of your options before you make any decisions that cannot be undone.

Know the Law

It is commonly repeated that half of all marriages in America will eventually end through divorce. While many experts suggest that this figure is an over-exaggeration, divorce is certainly not rare. Illinois law, however, generally seems to take divorce more seriously than the average person does. The statute that governs divorce in the state—the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act—does not guarantee a quick dissolution of marriage simply because a person files a petition for divorce. Under the law, an Illinois court will only grant a divorce if it finds that the marriage has broken down beyond repair due to irreconcilable differences between the spouses. Before filing for a divorce, you need to be certain that you are making the right choice.

No Taking It Back

When you are considering the possibility of a divorce, it is important to keep in mind that once the court has entered a judgment for the dissolution of your marriage, it is too late to change your mind. If the challenges of the divorce process have made you reconsider your decision, and you want to give your relationship another chance, you need to let the court know before the final decree is issued. Changing your mind about the divorce will not be valid grounds to ask the court to vacate its judgment of divorce. By law, you would be free to remarry your ex-spouse, but the provisions of your divorce decree would still apply.

Discuss Your Situation With a Wheaton Family Law Attorney

For more information the divorce process in Illinois, contact an experienced DuPage County divorce lawyer at Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath LLC. At our firm, we have helped many families in Illinois obtain favorable divorce outcomes in even the more challenging cases. Call 630-665-2500 for a confidential consultation with a member of our team today.



Posted in Divorce, DuPage County Divorce Lawyer | Tagged , , , , , |

child support, Wheaton family lawyerChild support is designed to help a child of divorced or unmarried parents to benefit from both parents’ financial support. Illinois considers it the right of the child to receive child support, so support payments are totally separate from issues of parental responsibility and parenting time. If you are a parent who is getting divorced or you share a child with someone you are not currently married to, you probably have several questions regarding child support.

If you are the parent with less parenting time, you may be wondering how much your support payments will be. If you are the parent with the majority of the parental responsibilities, or the custodial parent, you likely want to know what you will receive in child support. As with many aspects of family law, the issue of child support calculation can become complex.

Income Shares Model is Used to Calculate Child Support in Illinois

The laws regarding child support in Illinois have changed dramatically in recent years. Previous to July 2017, child support amounts were almost entirely dependent on the paying parent’s income. Now, the amount that a parent pays in child support is calculated based on the Income Shares Model. This is a more comprehensive means of calculating support that takes both parents’ income and financial circumstances into consideration. The new model also takes shared parenting into account. If a child spends at least 146 overnights a year with each parent, the method of calculating child support is slightly different.

What Is Considered Income During Child Support Calculations?

It is important for parents to understand what can be considered “income” under the Income Shares model and what financial resources are not considered income. When calculating income for child support orders, Illinois courts most often include funds from:

  • Salaries and earnings;
  • Tips and bonuses;
  • Unemployment insurance and disability insurance benefits;
  • Interest from investments;
  • Capital gains;
  • Pensions;
  • Trust or estate income;
  • Contractual agreements;
  • Military personnel fringe benefits;
  • Social Security benefits;
  • Veterans’ benefits;
  • Workers’ compensation benefits;
  • Gambling winnings;
  • Gifts;
  • Spousal support from a previous relationship; and
  • Certain employment benefits including subsidized housing or a company car.

In short, income from any revenue source can be considered when calculating child support. It is important to understand, however, that child support calculations are based on each parent’s net income. According to Illinois law, net income is a person’s total income from all revenue sources minus allowable deductions for state and federal taxes, as well as Social Security and Medicare taxes.

Contact a Wheaton, Illinois Divorce Attorney

At Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath LLC, we realize that child support proceedings can be complicated and stressful, but we are equipped to help you find solutions. Contact an experienced DuPage County family law attorney to discuss your case. Call 630-665-2500 for an appointment.



Posted in Child Support | Tagged , , , , , , , |

cohabitation agreement, DuPage County family law attorneyMore and more couples are choosing not to get married. It is possible that many people avoid marriage for the simple fact that so many marriages end in divorce. Other couples have personal reasons for putting off tying the knot. However, legal and financial issues can arise when an unmarried cohabitating couple breaks up. Unlike when a married couple splits, a cohabitating couple does not have legal protections which ensure that their property is fairly split.

Illinois does not recognize common law marriages so there are no laws which direct how an unmarried couple’s property and debts should be divided when they break up. One way to protect yourself when living with a partner who you are not married to is a cohabitation agreement.

What Is a Cohabitation Agreement?

A cohabitation agreement is similar to a marriage agreement or prenuptial agreement in that it is a legally-enforceable contract that dictates how an unmarried couple’s property will be divided if they break up. A cohabitation agreement can be used to decide each party’s financial responsibilities in advance. More specifically, a cohabitation agreement can allow you to:

  • Distinguish property each party owned before moving in together from property purchased or earned during the relationship;
  • Describe any property received as a gift or inherited during the relationship;
  • Outline the couple’s shared expenses such as utilities and housing costs;
  • Decide how debts should be managed;
  • Make plans for how any future disputes will be resolved, such as through mediation; and
  • Decide in advance how property will be divided if the couple breaks up or if a party passes away.

Does Creating a Cohabitation Agreement Mean I Think the Relationship Will Fail?

Many people incorrectly assume that making contingency plans for how property and debt will be divided if their relationship ends means that they believe the relationship will not last. This is simply not true. Just as buying car insurance does not increase your chances of getting into a car accident, creating a cohabitation agreement does not increase your chances of breaking up. In fact, many people find that having an open, honest discussion about finances during the process of creating a cohabitation agreement actually helps prevent arguments and problems in the future.

Contact a Wheaton, Illinois Cohabitation Agreement Lawyer

To learn more about how a cohabitation agreement can benefit you and your family, contact an experienced DuPage Countyfamily law attorney from Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath LLC. Schedule a confidential consultation by calling 630-665-2500 today.



Posted in Cohabitation, DIvision of Property | Tagged , , , , , |